Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2022
There is a lone valley, few charms can it number,
Compar’d with the lovely glens north of the Tweed;
No mountains enclose it where morning mists slumber,
And it never has echoed the shepherd's soft reed.
No streamlet of crystal, its rocky banks laving,
Flows through it, delighting the ear and the eye;
On its sides no proud forests, their foliage waving,
Meet the gales of the Autumn or Summer wind's sigh;
Yet by me it is priz’d, and full dearly I love it,
And oft my steps thither I pensively turn;
It has silence within, Heaven's proud arch above it,
And my fancy has nam’d it the Valley of Fern.
O deep the repose which its calm recess giveth!
And no music can equal its silence to me;
When broken, ‘tis only to prove something liveth,
By the note of the sky-lark, or hum of the bee.
On its sides the green fern to the breeze gently bending,
With a few stunted trees, meet the wandering eye;
Or the furze and the broom their bright blossoms extending,
With the braken's soft verdure delightfully vie;—
These are all it can boast; yet, when Fancy is dreaming,
Her visions, which Poets can only discern,
Come crowding around, in unearthly light beaming,
And invest with bright beauty the Valley of Fern.
Sweet Valley! in seasons of grief and dejection,
I have sought in thy bosom a shelter from care;
And have found in my musings a bond of connexion
With thy landscape so peaceful, and all that was there:
In the verdure that sooth’d, in the flowers that brighten’d,
In the blackbird's soft note, in the hum of the bee,
I found something that lull’d, and insensibly lighten’d,
And felt grateful and tranquil while gazing on thee.
Yes! moments there are, when mute nature is willing
To teach, would proud man but be humble and learn;
When her sights and her sounds on the heart-strings are thrilling;
And this I have felt in the Valley of Fern.
For the bright chain of being, though widely extended,